Distribution: Leveraging the Internet

Wajiu is headed for Vinexpo Hong Kong – seeking resources both upstream and downstream

Founded in January 2014 in Beijing, Wajiu has become an important player in the Chinese wine industry, as more and more foreign wineries and international wine professionals are getting to know the company. We asked the company’s CEO, Alex Li, to tell us what the secret was behind Wajiu’s super-fast growth.

Wajiu was the first company to combine B2B model and Internet in the Chinese wine business industry. We’ve built a unique B2B platform, which connects wine producers with wholesalers and retailers in China. Using all advantages Internet has to offer, we solved the problem of information transparency, shrunk intermediate links and improved the efficiency of the wine industry in China in general.

How is demand evolving over time?

When I was founding Wajiu in 2014, some people were saying that it is not a good time to enter the wine industry in China, that the time has passed for starting something new. But I believed that wine industry is an industry where increment exceeds stock, and saw the problem of Chinese wine market being high prices and a lot of counterfeit products.

From 2014 to 2018, the volume of imported wine has only been growing. In 2017 Wajiu has imported double volume compared to 2016, and our sales volume was up by 219%. Taking into consideration China’s population base, consumption increase, wine consumption concept changing, I think that it is just the beginning of rapid growth.

How is the internet influencing sales?

In the wine industry in China, there are too many intermediate links. As a result, the cost is very high and the efficiency low. Wajiu uses Internet opportunities to improve wine industry efficiency. We remove intermediate links, we work directly with wineries on the one side and with Chinese wine professionals on the other. For our customers, it is very easy and convenient to pick a wine they like, in spite of having 2,000 different wines to choose from. On Wajiu website or using Wajiu app, a customer can make an order according to one´s demands, easily choosing the country of origin, price, grape variety, and so on. We offer exclusive selling rights options to our customers (by region, by period of time) depending on their purchasing quantity. Based on the browsing and purchasing history of a customer, we can get a clear picture of his or her preferences and favourite products. Combining all the data together, we can identify best-selling products and customer preferences in different regions.

What are the key reasons for coming to Vinexpo Hong Kong, and how important is the show for you in sourcing, information and so on?

This time, our purchasing team has come to Hong Kong to visit Vinexpo, because it is a great place to source wines. A platform full of networking opportunities, we definitely will make research here and try to find new interesting products. But also, we want to deepen our understanding of the wine producers’ demands, optimise our service content, improve our service efficiency, and most importantly, integrate the needs of wine producers on the one hand and customers in China on the other. Vinexpo is a very professional wine and spirits exhibition in Asia. It is a platform for communication between high-quality suppliers and wine and spirits professionals. Wajiu is a link between these two parties and Vinexpo will no doubt be the best place to concentrate on upstream and downstream resources.

Photo: Alex Li – CEO, Wajiu